In a brotherly atmosphere and with a lot of dialogue, representatives of more than sixty associations from countries coming from all over the world (Europe, America, Asia and Africa), gathered virtually and physically during three days of intense work near to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, in Portugal, accompanied by some delegates of the Holy See.
The working times where accompanied with Mass and prayers, with community life during meals, as well as some festive moments. Various subjects were discussed: on one hand, the fundamental issues, in particular one document project entitled: “Catholic Vision of the Relationship between Scouting and the Religions”- even if it’s still been discussed. On the other hand, organizational and administrative questions of this international organization were discussed. Several positions were also renewed, including the ICCS World Committee, to which America now has a representative from Brazil. Also, the Inter-American Committee was renewed, with Nicolas Nava, of the Pastoral Scout Católica from Argentina (COPASCA) as the new regional president, and at the same time ex-officio member of the World Committee.
Among the most important conclusions, we would like to outline the following:
- The ICCS is an organization that aims at serving and supporting the Scout Organizations, especially Catholic ones, however it is opened to the interreligious dialogue, as well as to the promotion of open groups, i.e. groups where people from different religious beliefs cohabit. Of course, it is also necessary to consider and encourage the promotion of groups, that want to live our faith, in a special way.
- We recognize that each World Region has moved the Scout Movement with their own particularities, yet we keep the essence of being a non-formal education space for children, teenagers and young people.
- Its main mission is to educate better human beings, through games, encounter and the experience of community life, according to the different stages and contexts, i.e. a non-formal education process. This implies to promote childhood and youth entirely, through Scouting, including at religious, civic, environmental, social and of course cultural levels.
- In the Scouting Promise, we value the essential duties to God, to the others and to oneself. We recognize that Scouting has a full vision of the human being, and encourages everyone to seek relationships of transcendence and encounter with other beings and realities, closing the door to individualism and the narrowness of the meaning of existence.
- Concerning the Scouting Method, we made the difference between spirituality and religiosity. Spirituality is recognized as the development of interior faculties of each human being (reason, affection, imagination, memory and common sense), those that need to be educated by relating them to other domains: the other human beings, creation and God. Together, they shape civic, cultural and religious expressions, among others. It has been affirmed that it is not just the external, the operational, the material and the superficial that must concern us, if not above all, the interior, the profound, the meaning, and the interiority of the human being.
- For this, it is urgent to train to the spiritual meditation, listening, silence, contemplation, discernment of means, ways, circumstances, i.e. an ethical and fraternal vision, which integrates the existence and the broad reality in which each person lives, in their mission and meaning within the world. Of course, prayer and the practice of concrete religious’ actions, such as sacramental and community life, are necessary and appropriate, as long as they are assumed in freedom, with training and support.
- The Scout Movement in itself does not arise from an eminently religious initiative, however this aspect is one of its essential part. In the Scout Method, we cannot stop to educate the human being, re-linked to God, with the creation and with the other human beings. Without developing these qualities, the person remains caught in a narrow, selfish and closed self-referentiality. In recognizing ourselves in these relationships, we discover at the same time, that we are called to serve, protect, respect and love them.
This extremely rich experience, even at a distance, leads us to reaffirm the great tool of the Scout Method, which aims at the education of concrete, historical human beings, and of course open and called to personal and social transformation.
We entrust that, thanks to the clarity of concepts and the discernment of our mission, we can now articulate concrete efforts to promote spirituality and religious life, such as drawing spiritual path for each of the stages of training, as well as for the members of the adult, service communities.
Undoubtedly, the challenges are many, but the lights are too.
Mexico City, January 4th, 2022
Pbro. Eduardo J Corral Merino Juan Pablo Gutiérrez Alzate
National Scout Chaplain of Mexico Secretary of ICCS Inter-America